- Position: Forward
- 2016-17 Averages: 34.0 MPG, 23.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.9 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.5 BPG
- 2016-17 Slash Line: .443/.378/.824
Carmelo Anthony is in the top 20 in scoring and has put up 30 or more points in 14 games. Despite all of the trade rumors surrounding and the endless criticism surrounding his selfish play, he remains one of the league’s best scorers.
It’s on defense where he can’t get the job done. Like the rest of New York’s roster, Melo can’t guard his own shadow. The ten-time All-Star is currently ranked 75th out of 80 qualified small forwards in ESPN’s defensive real plus-minus.
Anthony, 32, leads the team in minutes (34.0). That’s too much to ask of a player with that many miles on his legs. Wednesday’s loss at Oklahoma City was a perfect example. He played the entire first quarter and scored 19 points on 7 of 8 shooting then, showing clear signs of fatigue, played 27 of the remaining 36 minutes and went 4 of 12 with just 11 points.
Some Knicks fans will defend Anthony to the death while others want him out of town as much as Phil Jackson does. The truth is that he hasn’t been as good as his supporters or as bad his critics would have you believe.
The metrics don’t lie. Anthony’s been lethal on spot up plays this season. One of the best in the league. His effective field goal percentage is 62.1 percent, and he’s averaging 1.24 points per possession. That’s good for the 93rd percentile of efficiency.
The Knicks are a better offensive team with Melo on the floor. They score 106.4 points per 100 possessions with him (per NBA.com) and 102.6 points per 100 possessions when he sits. Defense is another story.
Anthony has a negative net rating (-5.1) because the team allows a whopping 111.6 points per 100 possessions when he’s on the floor. That’s the second-worst mark on the team. Melo’s supporters and critics each have valid points.